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Duaner Downer
2005-03-22
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Strikeouts per nine innings in 2004 (major leagues only) by 2005 Dodger pitching candidates:

12.46 Eric Gagne
9.35 Frank Brooks
8.05 Giovanni Carrara
7.61 Wilson Alvarez
7.44 Yhency Brazoban
6.99 Brad Penny
6.26 Elmer Dessens
6.26 Jeff Weaver
6.00 Mike Venafro
5.87 Odalis Perez
5.84 Edwin Jackson
5.57 Aquilino Lopez
5.17 Derek Lowe
4.95 Duaner Sanchez
4.50 Kelly Wunsch
3.00 Scott Erickson

Some of these pitchers, of course, didn't pitch enough innings to make these statistics relevant. But Duaner Sanchez, among others, seems like a candidate for trouble. He had a big strikeout year in 2002 (wearing five uniforms - El Paso, Tucson, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Arizona), but since then he has a less impressive 81 strikeouts in 147 professional innings. Of his balls he allowed into in the field of play in 2004, 26.9 percent went for base hits - below the league average. Since this is largely a luck-dependent stat, that's another negative portent for 2005.

Righthander Buddy Carlyle, who in his entire minor league career has struck out 7.27 batters per nine innings, might not make the Dodger roster for Opening Day, but we could easily see him later this season, and it could be as a replacement for Sanchez - if not as a replacement in the starting rotation for Scott Erickson. The 27-year-old Carlyle made 23 starts in the New York Yankee system last season, 27 appearances overall, and had an ERA of 3.18, striking out 140 batters in 144 innings and walking 25.

In Sanchez's favor: He's still only 25 and can continue to improve. Without jumping to the conclusion that Sanchez will have a bad 2005, a little bit of Dodger fate could depend on how quickly the team reacts to a poor season by him.

Comments
2005-03-22 10:21:57
1.   scareduck
For those who forgot, Tom Meagher said of Sanchez that he "is backing up Yhency on the overrated index."

http://fourthoutfielder.blogspot.com/2005/02/re-around-horn-bullpen.html

Duaner's K/BB ratio has been over 2.00 only once, and that in a scant 6.0 IP.

2005-03-22 10:38:58
2.   Icaros
I've been wary of Duaner since last season. He has good stuff but poor command.

It frightens me when Ken Gurnick mentions him as a potential closer if Gagne is injured (he wrote this the other day).

2005-03-22 11:10:31
3.   alex 7
Wouldn't Alvarez make a better closer candidate due to his success vs righties last year? The experience factor over most of the other young relievers also makes sense. This would only be considered if the rotation was healthy enough to allow Alvarez out of it.
2005-03-22 11:29:36
4.   Jon Weisman
That's an interesting notion, Alex. I wonder about how well Alvarez does pitching on back-to-back days - I just don't know.

Mostly, I think that if Gagne were ever injured during the season, the Dodgers should move away from the "single closer" idea.

2005-03-22 11:36:33
5.   Bob Timmermann
Didn't Carrara get a few chances to close last year when Gagne was being given a rest?
2005-03-22 14:03:25
6.   Icaros
"Mostly, I think that if Gagne were ever injured during the season, the Dodgers should move away from the "single closer" idea."

Agreed.

2005-03-22 14:39:18
7.   Im So Blue
Dreifort was the one who got a few changes to close last year. Here are the 2004 Pitching Stats:

Pitcher Saves/SvO Dates
Alvarez 1 / 2 Apr 9; Jun 26
Dessens 0 / 1 Sep 8
Gagne 45 /47
Sanchez 0 / 1 May 9
Carrara 2 / 3 Jul 19; Aug 21, 31
Dreifort 1 / 4 Jun 6; Jul 31; Aug 1, 12
Mota 1 / 1 Jun 4
Martin 1 / 1 Jul 8

Jul 19- Carrara came in the 6th and blew the save.
Aug 21- the only time Gio came in as the closer instead of Gagne.
Aug 31- a 13-inning game; Gagne pitched in the 11th/12th for the win & Carrara got the save in the 13th

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